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Thread: Think Before You Breed

  1. #1
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Think Before You Breed

    Great article in the NYT today about the ethical implications of having a child.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...me&ref=general



    I haven't been posting in this forum as much because there has been some unexpected and confusing ambivalence in my household re: children (whereas there was not any of that 5 years ago), on both me and my husband's part, but this article really drives home to me how many people do NOT consider ethics when procreating. This article basically says that people who DO have children should be the ones explaining to others about the mechanisms of their decision, and not childfree people having to do the explaining.

    I think its sort of bone freaking obvious why people don't want kids, and less obvious why people do.

  2. #2
    A Matter Of How You See It Kala's Avatar
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    Our society is centered around the norm of people procreating. I accept that. But what I will not accept is the notion that it's all right to question me about my decision not to have children. I don't expect people to give me a litany of reasons for why they want to have children - that's their business - but I'd like that same courtesy and respect for privacy extended in return.

    And yeah, people ought to think before they spawn - just look at all the kids in foster care or those who live with parents who abuse them or how about just plain do not want them.

    But when all is said and done, we the childfree are in the minority and the onus is put squarely on us to do the explaining.

  3. #3
    the reichenbach hero fox in socks's Avatar
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    people always want to question you if you dont adhere to the life script. the convenient life script."being a mom is the best thing EVAR" and "you'll love them when theyre youre own" with no mention of what went wrong when some mom hooks their kids out for crack and burns them with cigarettes. convenience.

    kari-i was on the ambivalent fence for a while. a good night's sleep tipped me in the non-procreation direction hardcore though.i am only partially joking.

  4. #4
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Yeah, it sucks. I didn't think I'd be on the fence but here I am, on it. And there isn't a right answer. Like you don't just "know"...this is why so many people just get knocked up on "accident" aka being semi-deliberately careless to avoid actually thinking about it and pushing the button.

  5. #5
    Luckiest SweetPea's Avatar
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    Kari, I find myself more on the fence about it more than I ever thought I would be as of late... But I blame my abso-fucking-lutely adorable nieces (they make my heart hurt with love )

    But then I see other people's children and then I want to choke all the children!

    Seriously though, I wish that societal pressure wasn't there so that the decision was completely organic and personal.
    You don't have to do everything all by yourself.

  6. #6
    the reichenbach hero fox in socks's Avatar
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    not to make this an on your fence thread, but then again, it IS think before you breed......i think some people can say whole-heartedly they want or do not want kids. i am jealous of their definitive decisions. i think a lot of people, myself included, see it with a bit more uncertainty. i can see the pluses and minuses on both sides and they tend to equal each other out. so much for the old pros/cons decision making. i think if youre ambivalent, you have to resign yourself to the pluses AND the minuses of your choice.

    ultimately though, i think you really better be down with the minuses before having them or not. because even if they can be awesome, they can suck really hard. and observation of the young moms i see, your life is on fucking hold and you're no longer the priority. i'm too selfish for that. i like sleep, i like quiet, i like clean and ultimately, i dont think the bullshit outweighs the awesome. not in my life anyway.

    it was a complicated life decision though......i wont spill the complications on the public internet but if you want to know. its a personal decision for sure and nosy fuckers dont help it one bit.

  7. #7
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Well, fortunately for me a certain southern belle you and I both know is giving me a test baby.

    /hijack

    But yes, people need to stop being judgey mdjudgersons.

  8. #8
    Luckiest SweetPea's Avatar
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    Fox, that pretty much sums it up... Really well.

    Thank you
    You don't have to do everything all by yourself.

  9. #9
    The New Classic marci's Avatar
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    I always imagined having kids when I was younger, but as I get older, it is the last thing on my mind. I am no longer "too young" to have kids, but I still see it that way in my mind. The thought of having a child tomorrow repulses me, yet I can honestly say that I am still on the fence about it. There are a lot of things I want to do in life, but having a child is nowhere near the top. I like peace and quiet, sleep, and I want to travel and have a successful career (that I have yet to start.) For me, I know none of these would happen with kids in the picture. I love children when they are very well behaved, but when they are bad, I absolutely hate them. I think I would be a good parent, but it's possible to end up with one I would want to send back. I get my fair share of the negatives with still hearing my neighbor's kids scream on a daily basis. I was at a wedding reception in Toronto last week and met the sweetest little girl. She began hugging my legs as soon as I entered the banquet hall and I have to admit that I was as much a fan of her as she was of me. I also visited with a friend who has a 1 1/2 year old and I am always so in love with her, but I know both little girls have their bad days - and that's when I am glad they aren't mine. Tim has been in the "I hate kids" camp for the past few years, but I know he doesn't hate them all. Then, we have the unspoken pressures of our parents. Both sides will not have grandchildren unless we decided to have kids, which is something I do think about. My mom has always saved old things of mine "for my little girl", but that is definitely not a reason to have a kid. Fox, you summed it up quite well.. and as I am typing this, I'm seeing that the cons outweigh the pros for me.

    I enjoyed reading the article, but the conclusion did make me scratch my head a bit. I began reading the user comments, which went from agreeable to infuriating (you're being selfish if you don't procreate to who will take care of you when you're old?.) I though this one is worth sharing.

    The krux of this issue for me - a thirty-something contemplating child-rearing, or not - is the way this well-written article concludes: "in the end my spouse and I chose to have two children, whom we adore." I don't want to imply that Ms. Overall does not in fact adore her children, but this begs the sticky question: If every single person to parent another person ultimately adores their kid, where's the argument for anyone whose on the fence to remain childless? I have yet to meet a person who would speak openly about NOT adoring their children. How can we make a reasoned, rational decision about having children if there is no one who will discuss honestly what it's like to not like their kids? Sure, people will talk about the challenges or the ways life changes, but no one will talk about not liking their progeny. That's an article I'd like to read.

    Anyways.. I will go back to my fence now... Good luck with your decision, Kari.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fox in socks View Post
    ultimately though, i think you really better be down with the minuses before having them or not. because even if they can be awesome, they can suck really hard. and observation of the young moms i see, your life is on fucking hold and you're no longer the priority.
    This pretty much sums it up for me right here. Kari, I've been on the fence lately, too. Growing up I always knew I wanted kids, but by my late 20s I was pretty much CF. For some reason, in the last few months, T and I have started talking about it again...which brings me to Denali's point. We talk ALL THE TIME about the shit we wouldn't be able to do if we had kids and whether or not we'd be okay with that. It's not that we're trying to be negative about it, it's more that we want to really think about it if we ever decide to do it. Sometimes, if we're sleeping in and being lazy, one of us will say, "You know there's NO WAY we could do this if we had kids." Or if we're planning a weekend getaway on a Thursday. Or basically just doing whatever the fuck we want. We're on the fence about it right now, so it could go either way.

    My worst nightmare would be if I were one of those married couples whose relationship ends the second they have a child. I don't think my bro and his wife have had five fucking minutes together (except when their kids are asleep) since they had children. To each his own, but I just could not live that way. They've never hired a babysitter (their oldest is 6), never been on a date since their first, nothing. They don't do anything that doesn't include their kids. I'd be fucking batshit and I would hate those kids for taking my life away.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by marci View Post
    The krux of this issue for me - a thirty-something contemplating child-rearing, or not - is the way this well-written article concludes: "in the end my spouse and I chose to have two children, whom we adore." I don't want to imply that Ms. Overall does not in fact adore her children, but this begs the sticky question: If every single person to parent another person ultimately adores their kid, where's the argument for anyone whose on the fence to remain childless? I have yet to meet a person who would speak openly about NOT adoring their children. How can we make a reasoned, rational decision about having children if there is no one who will discuss honestly what it's like to not like their kids? Sure, people will talk about the challenges or the ways life changes, but no one will talk about not liking their progeny. That's an article I'd like to read.
    Someone once confessed to me that if she could do it all over again, she would not have had kids. She said something along the lines of, "It's 99% shit and 1% awesome." I've spent enough time with her and her kids to see that she loves them and provides for them, but I've also had enough conversations with her to know how exhausted and frustrated she is. I think her frustration has to do with several major changes in her life since giving birth (mostly, a divorce that left her a single mom) that she didn't anticipate, and she might feel different if I talk to her about it today, but she's definitely a case for CF if I've ever seen one.

  12. #12
    the reichenbach hero fox in socks's Avatar
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    blah blah bingo bingo "who will take care you when youre old". fucking ridiculous argument. like nursing homes are filled only with people without kids. give me a fucking break. bullshit colored glasses those are.

    i too like a few kids who are well behaved. i met and fell for a pretty awesome 11 (?!!?@#!!) year old a couple months ago. just after that meeting i came home and drank a beer whilst reading a book for 2 hours on my porch. not compatible with child rearing you know? my niece and nephew are super cool, loads of my friends are procreating (promptly leading to some good and bad relationship changes yikes)....none of these seem like solid reasons to travel that path. ive never been much of a sheep.

    i love travel (and to some pain-in-the-ass-to-get-to places), i love my spouse (and dont desire kids in any way shape or form that id want to affect that relationship/nor be a single mom), i like going to work and building a career (which would be pure shot if i had a kid. no doubt. i dont make enough to have a full time nanny). i dont want to be pregnant and i'm not willing to take the chance that my kid comes out fucked up. id be bitter, resentful and a horrible person. i know myself well enough to say that as a fact.

    but its so true that very few people will be honest enough to say that they were on the fence about kids and some external pressure tipped them over to the side they regret in some way. as if admitting its a fucking hard, minimally rewarding (at least compared to the yummy mummys who are all "omg BEST THING EVAR") full time plus job somehow equates BAD MOTHER. women are so fucking horrible to one another when it comes to this. as if you are somehow less of a woman for not "having it all' or at least putting on the fake-face that you do. if anyone ventures down the "this parenting thing is a fucking pain" path, its usually followed by a solid back pedal "but its SOOOOOOO worth it". whatever works for you, but it sounds like a sham.

    again, if youre down with the kids and youve always seen yourself in that role, or your pro-con scales tip toward parenthood, rock on and raise some awesome contributors to society please, but dont assume everyones priorities and values are the same. its honestly none of their fucking business if they aren't.

    i seriously SERIOUSLY wish more people would really THINK about it before having them. the return policy is rubbish and theyre yours for like fucking EVER.

  13. #13
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Some people have kids knowing that it basically puts their life and career/personal ambitions (esp. if you're a woman, actually, nearly always if you're a woman, far less often if you're a man although restrictions, financial and lifestyle, still obviously apply) in a straightjacket or in the bin for life and they're fine with that. They know what they want and get on with it. Basically, this is what mature people do.

    Others have them for idiotic, immature reasons such as imagined Kodak Moments (because one of those totally makes up for the 99.9% of your life when life is just messy and hard), because 'everyone else is having them' and because oops, I can't make an actual decision so I'll let nature decide (funny how nature always decides to knock them up) because god knows unprotected sex rarely ever leads to pregnancy in a healthy body! Seen a fair few women who didn't want them but succumbed to male/familial pressure go that way. Total loss of respect on my part. Grow a spine, woman, please.

    Guess which group tells everyone else how brilliant having kids is and how you should have them too? Yeah. Right. People who want to be doing it know how all-consuming it can be and have any potential kids' as well as potential parents best interests in mind don't tell others to take that kind of burden on. Those who want validation for their own ego, those who spit with envy because they hate their chosen life and can't admit it, they're the first to tell you how hard you're missing out by not joining their ranks.
    Last edited by Lágnætti; 06-20-2012 at 08:06 PM.

  14. #14
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fox in socks View Post
    i too like a few kids who are well behaved. i met and fell for a pretty awesome 11 (?!!?@#!!) year old a couple months ago. just after that meeting i came home and drank a beer whilst reading a book for 2 hours on my porch. not compatible with child rearing you know?
    I tend to roll my eyes at people who OMGCHANGEDMYMIND becauser they met a nice kid in a good mood in a park or have a nice niece or nephew or whatever. Yeah, playing cool aunt or seeing them once every so often to do cool things is totally different relationship from being a 24/7 caregiver with all the emotional and financial responsibility that implies. Cool aunts see the good side of kids because they're basically acting as friends for short periods of time. They don't have to deal with the power struggles that come with being a parent, to begin with. When you're a mother you can't just 'give them back' when you're tired and want to do something else and you have to deal with all the icky, tedious fucking grind that someone who sees them for an afternoon twice a month for cool times doesn't.

  15. #15
    Yeah, your own kid won't like you near as much as your nieces/nephews do!

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